Games are probably as old as humanity itself; heck, even animals probably had a pastime that could be described as a game from our perspective. Over the years, games have evolved and have become more complex, and with the invention of video games, the phenomenon expanded even further. Gaming is now a whole culture. While it is mostly associated with video games, it can also include various board games and other types of games that people enjoy playing, like Dungeons & Dragons, which is a role-playing game. Having said this, you can probably understand how the culture has also become part of the world of manga and anime.
In this article, we have decided to bring you a list of the 10 best manga and anime series that are focused on gaming in general, i.e., on different games that are part of the culture and which are either the focus of the story or the story itself. The titles are going to be ranked based on their overall quality and popularity.
10. Death Parade
What it’s about: The story consists of a succession of two people who wake up in a bar with a dark atmosphere. Unsuspecting, they do not know they have entered a deadly game. In fact, they don’t know how they ended up here. Decim, the bartender, and his assistant then explain to them that they will have to play a bar game (darts, bowling, billiards, etc.) and put their lives in play to perhaps understand what happened to them. But things don’t go as planned.
Why you should watch it: Death Parade is actually a collection of various games with a deep philosophical background that will entertain you, but also make you think about stuff, which is why we have listed it here.
9. Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler
What it’s about: Millionaire students at the private Hyakkaō Academy reap some benefits due to their higher intelligence and skill levels, while other students struggle with low social standing and lack of strategy when playing gambling games. A brand-new transfer student in their second year exhibits compulsive behavior and excellent gambling skills. There is a chance in historical progress to gamble and lose everything.
8. The King’s Avatar
What it’s about: The narrative centers on Ye Xiu, a professional Esports athlete from Hangzhou, China. Ye Xiu, regarded as the greatest player in the video game Glory, is the captain of his Esports team and the owner of the account “One Autumn Leaf.” However, he is compelled to leave the competitive scene and resign from the team because he is unwilling to participate in any team-building marketing initiatives. Ye Xiu continues to play the game and create a character from the start on a fresh For Glory server while he waits to rejoin the competitive scene.
Why you should watch it: Although a Chinese web series, The King’s Avatar is a title that games will enjoy as it brings out the best in the fantasy genre and it revolves around an MMORPG itself.
What it’s about: The online game The World attracts millions of players around the world, who spend hours or even entire days playing it. But an event will upset the well-ordered universe of The World: Tsukasa, a player, cannot disconnect from this virtual universe and shows unusual abilities that soon interfere with the smooth running of the game. Some other players, intrigued by this character who can do things that no one else is capable of doing, will take an interest in Tsukasa and try to help him.
Why you should watch it: .hack//SIGN is actually the first major isekai title that saw the plot focused on a character stuck in a video game. Due to its quality and historical importance, we had to list it on here.
6. Log Horizon
What it’s about: With its twelfth expansion pack’s launch, the multimillion-person multiplayer online role-playing game Elder Tale has surpassed all other MMORPGs in global player counts. But after the game’s twelfth expansion was released, 30,000 Japanese players and thousands of other players who were online when the update happened discovered that they were stuck in the game and couldn’t exit.
Why you should watch it: Log Horizon is one of the best “trapped in a video game” titles you’ll find out there, and we definitely have to recommend it, as it is a great title that shows just how difficult gaming can become.
What it’s about: The story begins in Yggdrasil, a successful online virtual role-playing game, but on the verge of closing for good after 12 years of existence. The main protagonist, Momonga, has difficulty accepting it, as he has no family, friends, or girlfriend and no longer finds meaning in living in “reality.” He is Ainz Ooal Gown and decides to stay immersed in the game until forced disconnection. To his great amazement, at the announced time of the server shutdown, he is sent to a new world, with the NPCs having their own will instead of returning to the real world.
Why you should watch it: Alongside the original written works, the Overlord anime and manga series has become one of the most popular titles, and if you like your fantasy RPGs, then this is definitely a title you need to check out.
4. No Game No Life
What it’s about: Sora and Shiro are inseparable brother and sister, both in reality and in video games (they are not actually brother and sister but see each other as such). As a team, their individual skills make them invincible: Sora has a shrewd intuition, great culture, very high intelligence, and unwavering insight, while Shiro possesses an intelligence beyond genius.
Why you should watch it: No Game No Life is a very popular cult classic with a great story and great characters that you will definitely love, and if you like gaming, this is a title you simply cannot miss.
What it’s about: In Yu-Gi-Oh! we follow Yugi Mutō who is a fifteen-year-old who attends the first year at the high school in the city of Domino. His father is always on a business trip, so he lives with his mother and grandfather, Sugoroku Mutō, owner of the games store Turtle Game, above which their apartment is also located. Eight years earlier, his grandfather had given him a gold casket, stolen from an Egyptian tomb, which contained the pieces of a gold puzzle inside. After solving the puzzle, he soon realizes that playing his favorite card game will be the key to saving the world.
Why you should watch it: Yu-Gi-Oh! is a classic series that spanned out of a trading card game that is still popular even to this date. The series has evolved with time, and if you like thrilling games, then this is definitely the series for you.
2. Fate series
What it’s about: The franchise as a whole actually focuses on the adventures of a teenager called Shirou Emiya, who is drawn into a death game called the Fifth Holy Grail War, and who has to, through various iterations of the game’s world, advance further in order to win and return to normal.
Why you should watch it: The Fate series is a very complex work, and instead of listing every installment, we recommend you see all of it since it will give you one of the best fantasy RPG experiences you can imagine.
1. Sword Art Online
What it’s about: The story takes place in the year 2022, when a VRMMORPG called “Sword Art Online” has just been released. There, players can enter a world called Aincrad and control their avatars just as they would with their real bodies through the NerveGear, a virtual reality helmet capable of stimulating their five senses through their brains. However, players realize that they cannot exit the video game. Shortly after, the creator of SAO, Akihiko Kayaba, appears and informs them that if they die in the virtual world, they will also die in the real world, as well as revealing that in order to exit the game, they must first overcome the game’s one hundred floors.
Why you should watch it: It was a tough choice, but based on how popular Sword Art Online is and how compelling of a story it has, we definitely had to list it here as our number one recommendation for gaming fans.
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